In the corporate world, the PowerPoint, or pitch deck, is still a relevant communications tool. CEOs, COOs and CFOs, as well as their teams, use these decks to communicate to investors, analysts, shareholders, the media and others.
There are articles that state the “slide deck is dead,” but people still use it effectively in daily practice. The slide deck is not dead if you create a great storytelling deck with visual impact—and rehearse and present it with authority.
The core of the pitch deck is the combination of an oral presentation with a visual one. However, a failure to excel in either domain can create a situation where the merged program is less effective than the combination of the two.
The following are eight critical points that can help you ensure that your presentations are as effective as possible and deliver on your presentation goals.
Control Your Modulation
Your voice leads your presentation and is one of the most overlooked aspects of the presentation world. If your goal is to present at a level (loudness, excitement and authority) of an eight, you should actually project your voice at a nine or 10. Many times people fail to rehearse and come across as flat, lifeless or not committed to the story.
Practice, Rehearse And Practice Again
Many CEOs hate to practice or rehearse, but I believe it’s imperative. No matter how many talks they have given, put them in a staged room, videotape it and make them go through the presentation. Look for traps in the slide deck or areas where they might stumble. Count the “ums” and “ahs” they use to help eliminate these unnecessary fillers.
Work On Your Posture
Stand with authority. Rehearsing and videotaping will help with this, but a good speaker will stand up straight, have their microphone pre-positioned and make sure they’re not swaying back and forth or hanging onto the podium. I saw one CEO at an event who was draped over the podium and mumbled through his entire presentation. That’s not a company I want to invest in.
Make Sure Your Slides Visually Represent Your Company
Your brand should be prominent. Use colors purposefully. Graphics should be clean and vibrant and not pixelated and hard to read. Buy stock photos; don’t clip other people’s photos from the internet.
Don’t Overuse Bullets
Slide after slide of numerous bullets will put your audience in a trance. To create a dynamic visual storytelling deck, you can insert a slide or two with bullets, but keep them simple. I recommend using odd numbers of bullets and using no more than five per slide. Three is better if you insist on using bullets.
Don’t Read The Slides
Your script should augment the slides. If you have bullets, pick one bulleted item to expand on, but never read the slides. Give additional information that supports the information on the slide.
Find Your Cadence
When you rehearse a program, you build a sort of muscle memory. Your cadence keeps people engaged in the audio part of the story. A weak cadence and soft voice can lead to “drone on” symptoms, something you never want to be associated with.
Tell A Story
The most important part of any presentation is telling a story. It should always have a beginning, middle and end, and the end should wrap up your entire presentation.
The brain captures information in a variety of ways, and in many cases, it does so in different ways at the same time. Your visuals, tone, emphasis, authority, expertise and passion for the subject should all come across when you’re presenting your subject.